BY SHARON VAN ARNEMAN
The year is still quite new, but 2021 has already taught all of us so much. Last week, I shared that one of the year’s many lessons so far is that our words matter. Today, I want to mention a second lesson of 2021 – and that is: Watch out for the green-eyed monster!
Here’s how Merriam-Webster defines envy: “Painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.”
Envy is as old as Cain, who killed his brother Abel when the Lord accepted his brother’s offering and rejected his offering. And although we are not told the reason why the Lord had chosen the offering of Abel over that of Cain, the sad thing is that all this could have been avoided had Cain just paused long enough to check his attitude. “If you do what is right,” the Lord had admonished, “will you not be accepted?” But instead of making right choices, Cain allowed envy to drive him to do the unthinkable!
Cain wanted the praise, the affirmation and the preference that Abel got, without being willing to do what Abel did to get what he got. We are repulsed at the ugliness of Cain’s actions – and rightly so – but do we ever find ourselves wanting what others have, without being prepared to do what they did to get what they got? We may look at another’s life and find ourselves wishing we had their job, their marriage, their car, their house, their children, their contentment, their positivity, their attitude, their faith, their disposition, their beauty, their education, their status, their money, their power or their fill-in-the-blank. But when we hear of the tireless work, the effort, the training, the discipline, the sleepless nights, the sacrifice, the time, the self-denial, the courage and determination whatever we want will require, that’s when we realise how often we see one’s glory without ever realizing the sheer grit it took them to get to where they are today.
That’s why it’s refreshing to be in the company of those who are genuinely happy when others succeed. Let’s say for example that our rival beats us to win that coveted position, for which the two of us were contending, are we gracious in offering congratulations; or do we go out of our way to rain on their parade? Do we make trouble for them and cast doubt in the minds of others that they beat us fair and square? Are we the kind of person who readily roots for others? When we think about it, it’s really not that big of a deal to compliment someone who’s good at something we have no interest in excelling at. But how easily do we find ourselves cheering for those who make waves in the areas of our giftedness? Do we feel happy to see them in the spotlight? Can we sincerely offer them words of praise?
When we see what has already unfolded in these first few weeks of 2021, we should all resolve to take responsibility for our actions and quickly address any bad attitude we may have, so that we leave no room for the green-eyed monster to rear its ugly head in our lives this year.
To contact Sharon,
write to P.O. Box 484,
Philipsburg, St. Maarten,